Rusted, Rescued, Restored
Author: Dan Gabbert
Publish date:

Jake’s heart almost jumped out of his chest as he saw the huge electro-magnet on the wrecking-yard crane connect with the roof of a rusted ‘65 Ford Mustang Cobra GT. In his mind’s eye, he pictured that dilapidated hunk of paint and metal on his showroom floor completely restored and glistening with its original beauty. The potential for that machine was awesome!

Showcasing the latest factory technology with a retro twist, Ford Racing Performance Parts 1965 Mustang Fastback features the new all-aluminum 5.0L DOHC

Jake took immediate action. Running toward the crane, Jake waved his arms to get the operator’s attention, breathing a prayer that somehow he might be able to redeem the rusted car hanging on the brink of extinction. And moments before being dropped into the car-crusher, the Cobra GT was saved from an ignominious death as Jake happily paid the junk dealer for a vehicle most people considered beyond repair.

What do you think Jake did with his precious newfound treasure? Do you suppose he lovingly hauled that Mustang home, set it out on his front lawn, and sat down to relax in his comfortable porch swing to watch that valuable possession continue to rust away in peace?

No! Jake went to work restoring that treasure, piece by piece, to its original condition—to the beauty it held when it was brand new on the showroom floor.

The Plan of Restoration

This allegory is a depiction of God’s desire for each of His blood-bought children. No matter how rusted out and wasted we may feel, the Lord’s plan is to rescue us from the crushing results of sin.

He will sustain us as we enter the process of being restored to our original design to be just like Him! Then, the rust of sin will have no more power to eat us alive from the inside out or keep us from the joy of His presence, which He has always desired for us (see Psalm 16:11).

Through the prophet Jeremiah, the Lord reveals this astounding picture of His plan for us:

For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end (Jeremiah 29:11).

God’s “expected end” is His original beginning. We were originally created in His image (Genesis 1:26-27). And even though sin has defaced His image in our lives, our heavenly Father is at work with everyone who is willing to cooperate with Him, to restore us back into our original Edenic showroom condition.

Our Example of Showroom Condition

Romans 8:28-29 communicates the same plan of restoration:

And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren (NKJV).

Christ Jesus, God’s Son, is the express image of God the Father (Hebrews 1:3). While He was here on Earth, Jesus shared this powerful fact with His disciples: “He who has seen Me has seen the Father” (John 14:9 NKJV). That’s the reason Christ came to this world, to show us what our heavenly Father, the King Eternal, was really like.

Knowing we would need a living model of God’s character and plan for our lives, Jesus came to live and die for us on this sin-cursed earth. He took a body just like ours, inherently weakened by 4000 years of sin, and walked with God as our Example, revealing the peace and power available to us.

Rust Removal and Rebuilding


The Bible says to be like God, we must be holy, for God is holy. 1 Peter 1:15-16 tells us, “But as He which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation (conduct); because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy.”

In the Bible, the words “sanctify,” “purify,” “cleanse,” “perfecting holiness,” and “washing of regeneration” are a few of the special terms the Lord uses to communicate the process by which He restores His sincere followers back to His original design for their lives.

This rebuilding process includes all three dimensions of our nature: mental, spiritual, and physical. We read in 1 Thessalonians 5:23-24, “And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly (completely restore you); and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. Faithful is he that calleth you, who also will do it.”

How important is sanctification, or becoming like Jesus?

2 Thessalonians 2:13 gives us the bottom line:

But we are bound to give thanks alway to God for you, brethren beloved of the Lord, because God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth (see also Hebrews 12:14).

What is our part? 1 Peter 1:22-23 tells us this:

Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit unto unfeigned love of the brethren, see that ye love one another with a pure heart fervently: Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever.

Where do we find the sanctifying truth by which we cooperate with the Holy Spirit to purify our lives? Jesus tells us in John 17:17, “Sanctify them through the truth, thy word is truth.”

The Power and Plan of Restoration

Is restoration really possible? Yes—it’s God’s plan! 1 John 2:5-6 says, “But whoso keepeth his word, in him verily is the love of God perfected: hereby know we that we are in him. He that saith he abideth in him ought himself also so to walk, even as he walked” (see also 2 Corinthians 7:1).

By earnestly studying God’s Word to know Christ and seeking to walk in His footsteps by diligently practicing what He reveals to us, we are actually cooperating with the Holy Spirit’s work to transform us into His loving image.

As we contemplate Christ’s humble life of healing service, as we behold His sacrificial death, the Bible says the Spirit of God changes us to be like Him:
But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory (character) of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory (the old character) to glory (the new character), even as by the Spirit of the Lord (2 Corinthians 3:18).

One of the greatest blessings of a vibrant Christian experience is knowing in the very depths of our being that we are cooperating with Christ in restoring His character of love in us!

Behold what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not. Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is. And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure (1 John 3:1-3).

Growth: a Process and a Partnership

I love this inspiring hope-filled thought:

It is by learning the habits of Christ, His meekness, His lowliness, that self becomes transformed—by taking Christ's yoke upon you and then submitting to learn (Manuscript Releases volume 12, 23).

Please understand this important point: It is not how far a Christian advances in learning Christ’s habits that counts with God. Our Lord is pleased when, day by day, a person chooses to stay in the growth process.

Jesus encourages us in John 8:31-32, “If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; and ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”

Here’s another inspiring picture of this recreative partnership with our loving Saviour from the devotional book My Life Today:

When it is in the heart to obey God, when efforts are put forth to this end, Jesus accepts this disposition and effort as man’s best service, and He makes up for the deficiency with His own divine merit (250).

Sharing the Beauty

A little girl with a sunny disposition and a winning smile was vacationing with her mother at a seaside resort. The other guests soon learned to love her.

There was just one problem. The mother, who hoped that one day her daughter would become a great pianist, insisted that she practice even while on vacation. So every day the child would faithfully come into the lounge with her music pieces and run through them on the piano.

At first the other guests tolerated this jangling intrusion of their leisure, but after a few days, their patience began to wear thin. They did not wish to speak to the overambitious mother about it or complain to the management. So one by one they would quietly leave the lounge when the practicing began and come back when the unpleasant sounds were over.

But something happened that changed everything. One day as the little girl was stumbling through her pieces, a silver-haired gentleman stepped over to the piano.

Placing a kind hand on her shoulder, he said softly, “Move over honey. Let me come and sit next to you.” She moved over, and he said, “Now keep on playing.”

Then he reached around her with one arm, and with both hands on the keyboard he began to augment her simple and awkward efforts with the most beautiful music.

Amazed, the guests hurried back to the lounge to see what was happening. Had some miracle happened to their little friend? Had some sudden surge of inspiration transformed her from a struggling student to an extremely talented musician? No. She was still pecking away at the keyboard as before.

But who was the stranger beside her, covering her imperfections with his own masterly skill? Somebody whispered that he was a famous musician spending a holiday incognito at this hotel. For hours they listened spellbound as the unknown stranger turned the aspiring efforts of a little girl into harmony they would never forget.

This story is a great picture of Jesus. He does not say, “Move over and let Me do it.” Instead, He says, “Keep on playing. Keep practicing.”

Then, He covers the jarring notes of our efforts to live like Him with His own beautiful sound—His perfect life. He turns the life we are living for and through Him into a lovely song.

Jesus can make our botched-up recital a beautiful symphony, an echo of the music of heaven! He is only waiting for our invitation.

When, with heartfelt desire, you ask Him to make you more like Him, and by faith choose daily to cooperate with Him through earnest prayer and study of His Word, be assured that the Holy Spirit, “which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ” (Philippians 1:6).

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